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Ezekwesili, others bag Weizsäcker fellowship in Germany


China must pay damages to Africa- Oby Ezekwesili

A prominent Nigerian, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has been awarded a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin from September 2019 to February 2020.

Others who bagged the fellowship are an international mediator from South Africa, Brian Currin; former Irish ambassador, David Donoghue; and former Mayor of the city of Wroclaw, Rafał Dutkiewicz.

Among others are a professor of science and engineering at the Harvard Kennedy School, Sheila Jasanoff; Furosemide Manji; and Natalie Nougayrède.

Since its foundation in 2014, more than 65 decision-makers and experts from around the world have spent a residency at the Academy.

While announcing Ezekwesili’s award of the fellowship, the Academy said, “She will design a pathway for Nigeria out of its stagnant politics” after the programme.

Ezekesili, an economic policy expert and Senior Adviser at the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative, will spend a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin from September 2019 to February 2020.

She is a co-founder of the global anti-corruption group, Transparency International, and formerly a Vice President of World Bank’s Africa programme. She was a former cabinet minister of Solid Minerals and later of Education in Nigeria.

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The academy, in a statement, said the fellowship was offered to her and others for being “decision-makers, opinion leaders, and experts who are solution-oriented on global affairs.”

It also read,

“The Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship was established in honour of the former President of Germany.

“The fellowship offers a residency of several months in Berlin to outstanding personalities from around the world. Residencies at the Robert Bosch Academy provide fellows with the intellectual and physical space to pursue individual research and outreach activities on topics beyond their normal professional commitments.

“During her fellowship, Obiageli Ezekwesili, a technocrat who recently ventured into politics and ran for the office of President of Nigeria in the 2019 election, will investigate the nexus between politics and the unsatisfying results of economic management and nation-building process of Nigeria and more broadly, Africa.

“Drawing immensely from her experiences in the 2019 election and her years as an economic reform expert, she plans to propose as well as execute a rescue plan to structurally change politics and political outcomes in her country, Nigeria and Africa widely.

“Combining Analytics, Work Study Group, Case Studies, Experimentations and Experiential activities during her fellowship, Ezekwesili will interrogate political incentives, political institutions and the standard of political actors necessary to raise the quality of governance in her country, Nigeria and Africa broadly.”

The statement added,

“Ezekwesili is convinced that setting Africa’s politics and political landscape right is fundamental to instituting a strong pattern of good governance that will help convert her country and the continent’s huge endowment of natural and human resources into lasting assets for equitable economic growth and development.

“The Presidential candidate in the 2019 election considers her mission of fixing Nigeria’s and Africa’s politics a creditable pathway for attaining good governance, inclusive and shared economic prosperity, harmony and political stability.”

In a statement shared by her Spokesperson, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh, to journalists across the globe, Ezekwesili said,

“It is the worst variant of politics that breeds poor governance in my country and continent, leads to dismal economic performance and entrenches pernicious poverty.”

Ezekwesili said,

“Politics badly trumps economics in Nigeria and Africa broadly. The bad politics and poor governance then combine to terribly trap majority of our citizens in extreme poverty. Nigeria has the largest number of extremely poor people in the world and is ignoble designated as the global capital of poverty.

“By 2030 Africa will be the continent with more than 80 per cent of the world’s poor. There is thus a fierce urgency, intentionality and deliberateness required to fix the root cause of poverty in our country and continent. I have identified as bad politics.”

She added,

“My time as a Richard Von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin will combine academic, experimental and experiential activities to design a #RescuePlan. The overriding goal is that #FixPoliticsDotOrg will transform politics as we currently know it in Nigeria and Africa.”


Here’s why Trump has threatened to shut down social media



Trump to reopen US ‘vaccine or no vaccine’

Donald Trump has threatened to close down social media platforms that do not support his agenda, a day after Twitter posted a fact-checking notice on one of his tweets.

Social media firms suppressed conservative points of view, the president claimed – without any evidence – before saying his administration would “strongly regulate [the companies] or close them down before we can ever allow this to happen.”

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Mr Trump advised the companies to “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

It is unclear whether the president’s professed goal would be compatible with the first amendment to the US constitution.

On Wednesday, he tweeted:

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.

“Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

Twitter’s fact-checking notice was posted on a previous Trump tweet that claimed mail-in ballots could allow widespread voter fraud. It immediately led to a presidential eruption accusing the platform of “completely stifling FREE SPEECH”

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For the first time ever, Twitter issues fact check on Trump tweets



Donald Trump

Twitter issued a fact check of some of Donald Trump’s tweets on Tuesday, marking the first time the U.S. president’s favoured social media platform has pushed back against him spreading falsehoods.

The move, which almost immediately heightened tensions between Trump and the social media giant, came in the form of a label under two of the president’s tweets, which claimed that mail-in voter ballots are subject to extreme fraud.

The label says “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and then redirects users to news articles and a bulleted list refuting Trump’s claims.

Shortly after Twitter issued the fact check, the president accused the company of “interfering” in the November presidential election and impinging on free speech.

“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he tweeted while doubling down on voter fraud claims.

It is unclear how Twitter will treat Trump’s future tweets that promote false information.

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On Tuesday, Trump issued separate tweets promoting a baseless conspiracy theory about Joe Scarborough, a liberal television news host and former congressman, which were not fact-checked by Twitter.

Nick Pacilio, a Twitter spokesman, would not comment on whether the company will continue to fact-check Trump’s tweets, saying the label is used “based on what people tweet.”

Twitter has faced a growing backlash for giving the president a massive platform to spread false information.

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Trump, who has more than 80 million Twitter followers, says his use of social media is essential to bypass what he sees as a biased media establishment.

“Partnering with biased fake news ‘fact checkers’ is a smokescreen to lend Twitter’s obvious political tactics false credibility,” Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement responding to Twitter flagging the president’s tweets.

“There are many reasons we pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and clear political bias is one of them,” Parscale added.

The president has increasingly claimed that mail-in ballots are subject to high rates of fraud at the time when some states are increasing access to postal voting to protect public health ahead of the November presidential elections.

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Election law experts say there is little evidence of increased fraud in mail-in ballots, as general voter fraud remains extremely low.

Republicans have long pushed to tighten the process for voter registration as Democrats have sought to expand voter accessibility.

Some studies show increased voter turnout is a boon for Democratic candidates.

In June of last year, Twitter said that it would mark tweets deemed to be in the public interest that violate its policies on such things as abusive behaviour and public safety.


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Nobody can stop me from second term– Obaseki



Nobody can stop me from second term– Obaseki

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has said that second term for him is non-negotiable as he deserves it and has clearly earned it.

The governor disclosed this when he received members of the Benin Unity League at Government House in Benin City on Thursday.

Mr Obaseki said: “I have said it clearly and I told my cabinet yesterday that second term for me is not negotiable.

“I am demanding it because I deserve it and I think I have earned it. We need to have it so we can continue what we are doing today.”

The governor said no one individual can determine who will become governor, noting that only God and the people can make the decision.

“I want to assure you that this is a fight that we will prevail. We will fight and succeed.

“If anybody thinks I will back out, he must be daydreaming because it is not my fight, it is about fighting for the right thing and cause.

“I am not going to back off because I know victory is sure,” the governor said.

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Mr Obaseki said nobody had accused him of implementing a wrong policy, adding that the accusations had been on but not focusing on stomach infrastructure.

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The governor commended the league for understanding where the challenges were coming from and supporting the truth.

Earlier, the President of the league, Gregory Osa, said the league was social cultural and non-political, established in 1983, comprising notable Benin professionals.

Mr Osa said the visit was to join other Edo sons and daughters to say no to the mischief in some quarters to prematurely pull the governor out of office, noting that the move was borne out of selfish motive.

“You are providing an enabling environment to make Edo an industrial hub.

“We are particularly interested by your push to develop the Benin River Port and make Benin Airport an international Airport.

“You will not only win the battle, you will win the war,” he said.


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